Michael White’s classical news: Proms; St Marylebone Festival; Attila

Thursday, 14th July

Alice Coote photo Jiyang Chen

Prom queen Alice Coote. Photo: Jiyang Chen

AS Boris Johnson crawls away from power, some of the governmental hatred he’s been aiming at the BBC will (hopefully) reduce and let the Corporation celebrate its centenary year under less pressure – as it aims to do in the Proms season, which starts this Friday, July 15. It’s the first full, eight-week season since the Covid crisis. The centenary is high on the agenda, as is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Grand events are back, with major orchestras on tour (chaotic airports willing). And the season opens with a blistering Verdi Requiem on Juky 15; English music (VW, Bax, Walton, Elgar), July 16; coupled Fourth Symphonies by VW and Tippett, July 19; and a late-night Purcell Dido & Aeneas with Alice Coote as the abandoned queen, also July 19. Sadly the scheduled premiere of a new viola concerto by Cassandra Miller – a composer you need to hear: she’s special – has been postponed, but gets replaced with a viola concerto by James MacMillan, July 18. All these things are at the Albert Hall, but also live on Radio 3. It’s one spectacular sonic indulgence and, as the advertising fairly says, the greatest musical festival in the world: 72 concerts, running to September 10. bbc.co.uk/proms

Not quite on the scale of the Proms but still notable, the St Marylebone Festival runs July 17-22 with a South American theme, prompted by the number of 19th-century Latin Liberators who plotted their coups while living in Marylebone’s sedate backstreets. Tango features prominently, with a Tango Mass (!) at St Marylebone Parish Church, July 17; a Piazzolla evening, July 18; and a dance class, July 20. Also look out for a John Rutter “come-and-sing” afternoon, July 17; and a celebration for Vaughan Williams (who spent the last years of his life at nearby Hanover Terrace) with the Joyful Company of Singers and musicians from the English Folk Dance and Song Society, July 21. stmarylebonefestival.com

• Don’t imagine that the opera season is done with, because it isn’t. The Royal Opera have starry concert performances – with Joseph Calleja and Simon Keenlyside – of Verdi’s early tub-thumper Attila, July 19-22: roh.org.uk – and Opera Holland Park have a new double-bill of two unfamiliar miniatures: Delius’s hot-blooded Margot la Rouge, and Puccini’s supernatural Le Villi. Expect both to end in tears. Italian conductor/composer Francesco Ciluffo takes charge. Runs July 12-August 6. operahollandpark.com

The plectrum, or perhaps the fingers, reign at Kings Place this weekend, July 15-17, when the venue is engulfed by what it calls a Guitar Summit. Classical, jazz and all styles between vie for attention, with leading guitarists like David Russell and Rafael Aguirre sweeping in for concerts. kingsplace.co.uk

• Also sweeping into London, from their normal home among the dreaming spires, are members of the Oxford Philharmonic for a concert of baroque earworms – Bach Brandenburg Concertos, Handel Water Music etc – at St Martin in the Fields. Conductor/pianist Marios Papadopoulos directs (unaccustomedly) from the harpsichord – July 16. stmartin-in-the-fields.org

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